Ilaria, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Ilaria, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Ilaria, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

California, United States 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$67.00
Your cart is empty.
  • In stock, ready to ship
  • Inventory on the way

Ilaria, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Ilaria is back and greater than ever! Two vintages ago, we were so impressed by Ilaria’s Napa Valley Cabernet, we decided to put our money where our mouth was instead of making an empty claim that “it would blow away doubly priced Napa Cabs.” So, we matched it against far-pricier bottles—to remain unnamed—and the standout was still today’s stunning label, crafted by ascendant star Anna Monticelli. 

When we were recently given access to her 2019 release, a vintage surrounded by massive buzz, we already knew what we had to do. We sat down yet again and pulled the cork alongside a few Napa Cab contemporaries in the $100-150 range. The results were clear as day: Ilaria by a mile. This is a boutique passion project for Monticelli whose lengthy Napa resume (Piña; Seavey; Bryant Family) has exposed her to plenty of first-rate raw material throughout the valley. The result is a full-bodied, richly textured, mineral-dense Cabernet for those who enjoy the “bigger” side of Napa. If you’re a Cab lover who’s willing to lay out for cult labels, I cannot overstate what a superb, smoking value this is!

Ilaria's winemaker, Anna Monticelli has built an impressive resume over the course of a decade-plus in the Valley. After graduating UC Davis, she moved on to the Sorbonne in France, then to Château Cheval-Blanc in Bordeaux for an eye-opening apprenticeship during the harvest of 2000. Upon returning home to Napa, she spent two years as Assistant Winemaker at Seavey Vineyards and four more at Bryant Family Vineyards before joining Piña in 2007. Her Ilaria wines, part of the In Vino Felicitas project she started with her husband, Mario, are named after their daughter, who was born in 2009, the first vintage of this wine. 

This 2019 is predominately Cabernet Sauvignon with equal splashes of Petit Verdot and Malbec. The Napa Valley sources are the foothills of Atlas Peak, the iconic Rutherford AVA, and Pope Valley (wedged between Howell Mountain and Chiles Valley), rounded out with a small selection of fruit from southerly Coombsville. After completely de-stemming the fruit, fermentation was carried out in stainless steel tanks. The blended wine then matured in 70% French barriques for a whopping 22 months before bottling. As her experience shows, Monticelli knows Napa Cabernet, and this one has a compact and classic structure with a luxurious edge. We should once again stress that these wines don’t just “hang” with some of Napa’s $100-$200 Cabs, it flat-out dominates them. 

While there’s no lack of power, density, and opulence in Monticelli’s 2019 Ilaria Cabernet, it’s a far cry from the routine $100+ labels that line Napa’s valley floor. Many of those can be rich and heady with a seemingly uniform palate, whereas Ilaria’s provides mineral muscle and freshness alongside an impeccably structured core of smoky berry fruit. This erupts with huge swells of cassis, plum, and black cherry that pave the way for pipe tobacco, cedar, star anise, bay leaf, espresso, menthol, and crushed black rock. The palate is full-bodied and powerful, loaded with dark, intense, woodsy flavors that finish on a much higher, longer-lasting note than many of its Napa Valley contemporaries. After a minimum 60-minute decant, I suggest enjoying it slowly over several hours. Any other bottles can be cellared throughout the decade. Cheers!

Ilaria, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

United States


Columbia Valley

Like many Washington wines, the “Columbia Valley” indication only tells part of the story: Columbia Valley covers a huge swath of Central
Washington, within which are a wide array of smaller AVAs (appellations).


Willamette Valley

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become an elite winegrowing zone in record time. Pioneering vintner David Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyard, planted the first Pinot Noir in the region in 1965, soon to be followed by a cadre of forward-thinking growers who (correctly) saw their wines as America’s answer to French
Burgundies. Today, the Willamette
Valley is indeed compared favorably to Burgundy, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home. And while Pinot Noir accounts for 64% of Oregon’s vineyard plantings, there are cool-climate whites that must not be missed.


Santa Barbara

Among the unique features of Santa Barbara County appellations like Ballard Canyon (a sub-zone of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA), is that it has a cool, Pacific-influenced climate juxtaposed with the intense luminosity of a southerly
latitude (the 34th parallel). Ballard Canyon has a more north-south orientation compared to most Santa Barbara AVAs, with soils of sandy
clay/loam and limestone.


Paso Robles

Situated at an elevation of 1,600 feet, it is rooted in soils of sandy loam and falls within the Highlands District of the Paso Robles AVA.

New York

North Fork

Wine growers and producers on Long Island’s North Fork have traditionally compared their terroir to that of Bordeaux and have focused on French varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

Others We Love